Many of us think tears are an emotional response, and that’s true. But they are necessary for eye health because they provide moisture and lubrication. They also contain antibodies, which help prevent infection.
If your eyes are dry a lot of the time, it’s important to get them checked. If you don’t, you could experience:
- Sensitivity to light
- A feeling like something is in your eye
- Blurry vision
Dry eye can also result in excess tear production because the eye tells the nervous system that it needs more lubrication, and the response is to produce a large amount of tears. These tears are mostly water, not the mix of water and lubricants the eye needs.
Dry eye can be caused by anything from an imbalance in the eye’s tear-flow system to the aging process. People who are menopausal or have rheumatoid arthritis are especially susceptible. The problem also can be with the eye itself, such as an eyelid that’s not closing properly.
There are many things your eye care professional can recommend to treat dry eye, including:
- Artificial tear drops and ointments
- Closing the tear drains of the lower eyelid temporarily or permanently (a procedure known as punctal occlusion)
Everyone’s case is different, so if you’re finding yourself with dry eyes, make an appointment with your eye doctor to see what course of action is best for you.